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Could a Computer One Day Rewire Itself?

By Northwestern University Newscenter

October 19, 2011

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Northwestern University researchers have developed a nanomaterial that can guide electrical currents, which could lead to a computer that can redesign its internal wiring to become an entirely new device based on changing needs.

"Our new steering technology allows us to direct current flow through a piece of continuous material," says Northwestern professor Bartosz A. Grzybowski.

The material is a combination of silicon- and polymer-based electronics, creating a new classification of electronic material known as nanoparticle-based electronics. "Besides acting as three-dimensional bridges between existing technologies, the reversible nature of this new material could allow a computer to redirect and adapt its own circuitry to what is required at a specific moment in time," says Northwestern researcher David A. Walker.

The researchers say the technology could lead to a device that reconfigures itself as a resistor, a rectifier, a diode, or a transistor based on signals from a computer.

From Northwestern University Newscenter
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